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Why Do TV Show Depict Woman as Crazy People With Too Many Problems?

I am not some kind of uber feminist. Really. I’m not.

The world has changed a great deal in my lifetime. Women have broke through so many barriers. But I do believe there’s still work to be done.

For my part, I’m trying to raise my daughters to believe they can do anything they want, whatever that may be. I’d like them to grow up with no preconceived stereotypes of what women are “supposed” to do. I’d like them to not grow up worrying about glass ceilings. And, if they choose to, I’d like them to be comfortable just being… whether that means a corporate career, a job in retail, expertly running their own household…. it doesn’t matter to me. I’d just like them to find whatever it is that makes them happy and attack it with vigor.

While I am in no way a radical feminist, I do cringe when I see women doing things that set us back a few decades. So you’ll excuse me for the tirade that is about to ensue.

Mike and Molly. Have you seen the show? It’s in it’s fourth season on CBS and not

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without overcoming some hurdles, like the fact that the blogosphere practically imploded when the show debuted in 2010 and bloggers and critics latched on to the main characters, tearing at them for being “too fat” to be on TV.

I think Melissa McCarty is awesome. She’s smart. She’s funny. She has a thriving career. She’s very down-to-earth. And she is a wife and mother.

You might say the same about her character on Mike & Molly. Molly Flynn-Biggs is an educated educator. She happens to have a slight spending problem, but hey, most women can relate. When the shoe fits… you gotta buy it, right?

So imagine my shock when Molly came unhinged this season. Her character literally had a nervous breakdown. She abandoned a classroom full of students–and her profession–and took off walking in the rain hoping to find herself along the way. And suddenly the very down-to-earth, very put together, very educated, stable Molly became this mess of a person who has no idea what she wants to do with her life. The last few episodes she’s been spending it getting drunk,  having a bar room brawl, and smoking pot. I doubt she will find herslef in the bottom of a whiskey bottle, but she is sure trying.

I’ve read some blogs about this season attributing the change to CBS really wanting to capitalize on the mega-money-making antics that have made Molly’s movie career so successful. As one blogger put it, CBS has finally unleased Melissa McCarthy. Another reviewer said the show was so drastically different now, the season premier felt more like a pilot for a new show. I would agree.

The thing is,  I liked Molly’s character before. She was funny. She was funny enough. Molly being good ol’ stable Molly was enough.

Instead, Molly is now some unstable shell of her former self, immersed in a mid-life crisis with no end in sight. I feel like the writers took a perfectly normal and likeable character–who also happened to be a strong and successful woman–and made her a sterotypically impulsive and hormonal loon.

So that’s my point in all this. In a time where women can truly soar, why do so many female characters on TV STILL have big, crazy problems? They’re unmarried and crazy. Or they’re married with kids and crazy. They’re never successful AND stable.

Maybe that would be a boring character to watch?

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